Hook.js: Hooking Up Your Web Pages


Hook.js is a small JavaScript library that brings the oh-so-popular pull to refresh feature of touch screen devices to the web. A nifty feature that is so obvious, that it’s a surprise nobody thought about it until now.

Hook.js is created by Jordan Singer and Brandon Jacoby, a pair of web developers/designers based in CA, USA.

Now here’s the thing. I love the whole concept of it all, but this is one feature that should be used wisely. Nothing would match the terror and frustration of accidentally refreshing a long and tedious form page and losing all of the information you filled in it.

Most people who use the computer already use the keyboard shortcut to refresh a page or the refresh symbol. It’s become a convention and as far as most are concerned, it is not really hard to do that. The reason pull-to-refresh was implemented on touch screen devices is that it was the easiest and most convenient way of refreshing a page, especially for apps that got fresh content from the internet, such as Twitter.

Needless to say, the same does not apply for a computer. I’d rather press F5 on my laptop to refresh the page and get new content instead of scrolling all the way to the top and a bit more. That said, I do think that it is a nifty little feature that could be used to add a little magic to a normal web page and that is never a bad thing.


Old Maps Online: An Insight Into Maps of the World Through History

Old Maps Online is a website that showcases historical maps from around the world. The site features a prominent modern-day Google base map, which you can zoom in and out of and navigate along its length and breadth and search for places; Nothing special about that. Where Old Maps Online gets its name from is the sidebar that shows relevant scans of old maps of the area that you just zoomed in to. Most of these old maps are in pretty good state and are available for viewing as a zoomable flash file or as a high-resolution, downloadable image for printing.

The Island of Bombay, circa 1932-33.
The above image shows a map of the “Island of Bombay” from around 1932 – 33 when India was still under the rule of the British Raj. I dare say, one would be hard pressed to find a paper map as old as this and in such a good condition in any of the government institutions in India.

The importance of preserving and digitizing historical maps cannot be stressed enough. Such maps give you an insight into the state of the earth and of the nature and styles of cartography prevalent at the time. Imagine if all the maps in the world through history are digitized and a cumulative timeline of the world through maps is shown. The result would be breathtaking!